Orioles Hammel set to start opener

Jason Hammel is set to start the Baltimore Orioles’ opener at

Tampa Bay.

Hammel, who threw five innings in a minor league game Wednesday,

is scheduled to start against the Rays’ David Price on Tuesday in

St. Petersburg, Fla.

”We look it at as one of the five starters. He will be the

first guy of the season,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Hammel was 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA for the Orioles last season, and

pitched Games 1 and 5 in the American League Divisional Series

against New York.

”It’s an honor,” Hammel said. ”Very excited. Basically what

it means, is I get to be the one to get us off on the right foot. I

don’t take that lightly. Very confident to come out and win

there.”

He’ll be followed in the Orioles’ rotation by Wei-Yin Chen and

Miguel Gonzalez.

Hammel missed much of the second half of last season after

surgery on his right knee.

The 30-year-old right-hander has only pitched in three major

league games this month because Showalter wanted to avoid using him

against American League East rivals.

”I’m very happy to say I made it through healthy,” Hammel

said. ”That was my main concern after last year. It was the first

time I dealt with an injury that long and I feel like I’ve come

back stronger from it. I may not have pitched in many Grapefruit

League games, but I was able to get the work in I needed to.”

Showalter declined to reveal his fourth and fifth starters.

Chris Tillman will probably be one of them, and Jake Arrieta is in

the lead for the other.

The Orioles reassigned their No. 1 draft choice from last year,

Kevin Gausman to minor league camp.